How to Read CBD Labeling

Batch of CBD Products

Reading the label on a CBD product is one of the best ways to determine whether or not it is coming from a reputable and reliable source. It provides useful information such as dosage levels and how to determine serving sizes. Without it, consumers would be ingesting a product that they may not know the first thing about.

Lucky for you, we are providing some insight on how to read CBD labels. For people more experienced with CBD products and what goes into making a quality product, this may be common knowledge. For those that are new to the industry, or are simply thinking about trying CBD for the first time, this page will provide with all the information you need to know when reading a CBD product label.

CBD Labeling Requirements

The label requirements for CBD products tend to vary by state. The most strict regulations come from state-licensed adult-use programs and medical cannabis programs. Many states, such as California, have specific requirements for their CBD labels that mandate companies to include certain information.

At a federal level, there are still no regulations surrounding CBD. As a result, there are no CBD labeling laws that pertain to the entire United States as a whole. However, many CBD companies will attempt to replicate federal ingredient levels to make their products look more professional.

Down below you will find some common information that is found on CBD product labels along with specific things to be looking for, and other things that may be considered a red flag.

CBD Dosage

Knowing what one dose of CBD is will be crucial when trying out a product for the first time. It is one of the most important things that a label can tell you and addresses one of the areas that creates the most confusion for consumers.

Some products will be easier to calculate than others. For example, it is much easier to take one softgel CBD cap than to try and determine the correct amount of oil that goes into a dropper. And this where additional dosing information comes in handy, such as the milligrams of CBD and the serving size/number of servings in a package.

Milligrams of CBD

Proper CBD products will typically always include the total amount of CBD in milligrams that are found in a package. A milligram is one-thousandth of a gram. 

Serving Size

Even more important than the total amount of CBD in a product is the amount of CBD in each serving along with the total amount of servings in the package. 

cbdMD Label
  • The serving size is what determines what one dose of the product is (for example, one softgel capsule, or two gummies).
  • The CBD per serving is the amount of CBD that the serving will possess.
  • The number of servings per package tells you exactly how many doses you can get from the package (if the serving size is 1 softgel capsule and there are 30 in a package, then you simply have 30 servings).

It is most common to find a typical dose of CBD to be 10 milligrams. However, this is not a legal requirement set by the federal government. In fact, different brands and types of products will carry different dosage levels of CBD, so make sure you are checking that before trying a product.

Source of the CBD Oil

Another vital piece of information that should be found on a CBD product label is the source of the CBD oil that was used to make the product. 

Adult and medical-use cannabis markets derive their products from plants that are meant to provide strong effects combined with sweet scents and good flavors. These products will typically possess a higher level of THC.

On the other hand, hemp-derived CBD (which is what you will find on the shelves of thousands of stores) is made from industrial hemp plants that are bred to possess a THC content level of 0.3% or lower. 

You may also see three different terms used when reading about the source of the CBD oil: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate.

  • Full Spectrum

Full spectrum CBD is the name given to derived CBD that also includes trace levels of other cannabinoids, such as THC.

  • Broad Spectrum

Broad spectrum CBD also possesses other cannabinoids and terpenes, but does not possess any THC.

  • CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is made up of pure CBD crystals and has no trace of other cannabinoids or terpenes.

Things to Look For

Manufacturing Date

Like most other products, CBD will degrade over time. Because of this, you should always check a CBD product label for a manufacturing date. As a general rule of thumb, the fresher the CBD product is, the better and more effective it will be for you. 

License Numbers

If the maker of the CBD product is state-licensed, then they are required to provide their license numbers on the products. This series of numbers will allow you to look up the licensee.

Non-licensed CBD makers are not required to include license numbers on their product labels.

Certification from a Third Party

Third-party certification helps verify that the CBD product’s label is making accurate claims. A popular form of third-party certification is a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from an approved cannabis testing lab. This is where CBD products are tested for THC content levels to ensure they follow the regulations set. The best CBD products will always have third-party certification.

Batch Number

State-licensed cannabis systems mandate that batch numbers be provided on the labels of CBD products. Batch numbers provide accountability for the manufacturer and makes it easy for regulators to hold an entire batch in the event of a recall.

If no batch number is present, then it is impossible to determine when and where the CBD product was made.

QR Codes

QR codes are those black and white boxes on products that you can scan with your phone. These codes have been used to provide consumers a sense of ease about the product because they can scan the code and immediately download the product’s test results. 

Warning Labels

Any reputable CBD company will include a warning label stating that CBD has drug interactions and is not for everyone. 

Red Flags

Always be cautious about what is in your CBD product. Many vape products will contain ingredients that act as thinners, thickeners, and flavors. Vitamins and essential oils are also added at times to appeal to consumers, but can be problematic for your health. 

There are also two terms that should always catch your attention when reading a CBD product label.

Hemp Oil and Hemp Extract

These two terms are used by a lot of companies that do not produce CBD in the proper way. Many people are led to believe that hemp oil and hemp extract are the same thing as CBD, but the truth is that products that contain these ingredients may not contain any CBD at all. 

These two phrases simply mean that the product they are selling is a combination of chemical compounds from a hemp plant, but not necessarily providing any dose of CBD.

Be wary of shopping for CBD oil on Amazon as they are plagued by these types of companies that make medical claims but do not provide CBD in their products. 

Also be cautious of companies that use vague ingredient descriptions such as “natural ingredients” or “all-natural product.”

Conclusion

Reading a CBD product label is simple once you know what to look for. Always double check your labels to make sure they possess dosing information, serving sizes, manufacturing dates, and batch numbers. If you ever come across information that you do not understand, do not hesitate to do further research.

Always be cautious of what you are putting in your body, and do not let predatory companies fool you into buying a mock product. Keep an eye out for red flags and take your time when deciding what CBD product to use.

We have provided a frequently asked questions section below for those of you looking to find quick information on CBD product labels.

FAQ

  1. Are CBD product labels mandatory across the U.S.?

    The regulations for CBD product labels are on a state-by-state basis. Many states that allow for the sale of edible hemp products require that companies provide dietary information on the label.

  2. What should I look for on a CBD product label?

    Reputable CBD products will typically provide things such as dosage information and serving sizes. It is also important to check for QR codes, batch numbers, and manufacturing dates.

  3. What are red flags on a CBD product label?

    Red flags on a CBD label can include using vague descriptions such as “natural ingredients.” Also be wary of companies that advertise their product as hemp oil or hemp extract as they likely will not possess any CBD.

  4. Is it dangerous to take too much CBD?

    While you may experience certain side effects from using too much CBD, such as vomiting or diarrhea, you can not actually overdose on CBD. Therefore, no, it is not inherently dangerous to consume over the recommended dose amount of a CBD product.

  5. How does CBD affect you?

    When you ingest CBD, it works by interacting with your brain and your immune system through two different receptors, known as CB1 and CB2. These two receptors are responsible for the endocannabinoid system you have within your own body.

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